[ARCHIVE] Kathryn Blaylock's Diary

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    [Originally Posted Wednesday, January 27, 2010 @ 12:52 PM]

    New game. I’m not running it. This is the diary of one of my characters – which she tries to write in on a daily basis, but sometimes gets side-tracked by other things.



    [Originally Posted Wednesday, January 27, 2010 @ 12:53 PM]

    I flew out of my way so Kris and I could go home together for Mom & Daddy’s anniversary. It wasn’t like Florida was that far out of my way anyway and over the last few years, I’ve discovered that the only straight flights from DC to LA seem to be scheduled on irregular Tuesdays at 3:18 a.m.
    So we’re on this little commuter plane between some stop in Florida and Dallas and I thought I had a migraine coming on – there was this flash and pain and I had leaned back to close my eyes when Kris started going into rescue mode. I thought she was over-reacting to me, at first, but then the attendant started getting all worked up and talking about seat belts and crash positions.

    I don’t know what happened after that… all I can really remember is Kris going into that full-on boss mode… trying to talk the flight attendant down and getting completely serious about everything. Her voice gets to me when she’s like that… no-nonsense and almost void of emotion. I remember her saying something “this is gonna hurt” right before the plane hit the ground.

    I don’t remember much after that for a while. Kris says I was in shock – and as much as I hate to admit it, I guess she probably knows better than I do. I heard her asking people if they were okay and telling everyone that could to get off the plane and gather together outside.

    There weren’t that many of us on the plane to begin with… but the handful of us that managed to gather together away from the wreckage was soberingly small. There are a couple of guys my age and a couple who are younger and Kris and I… of everyone on the plane, we were the only ones able to get out.

    Kris was busy bossing people around and grabbing first aid kits off the plane and dumping them on top of that “response kit” she carries around in her backpack everywhere she goes…
    I think Phil probably started praying on the plane, but he was still at it for a while…
    T.J. was standing around smoking a cigarette like nothing had happened just kind of wandering around with a saddle over his shoulder…
    Lucky was quiet and kept to himself… maybe he was in shock, too. I don’t know…
    Lee threw up when he first got off the plane, but then he seemed to be okay I guess… wandering along what was left of the fuselage with Phil searching for luggage…
    Mac’s around my age, I think, and kind of quiet… but he was able to get Steve to go with him to check out the road we could see in the distance.
    Poor Steve… the kid was on the plane with his parents… sitting with them when everything stopped. His folks didn’t get off the plane…

    Kris went back into the plane a few times – the last time was to go after purses and wallets and stuff. I don’t know if she’d thought about it before he said anything, but when Steve said he had to go back and get his parents’ stuff, she wouldn’t allow it.

    I don’t know how she does it. I’m only barely remembering some of this stuff now… almost thirty-six hours later… but she’s always in control of the worst situations and gets everyone and everything moving in the right direction.

    Mac and Steve saw a road sign for a rest area 12 miles off and we were trying to psyche ourselves up for the walk. Whatever had happened to the plane had happened to all the cars on the road, too… everything was stopped. Some had crashed into eachother… fender-benders and pissed off drivers… but Kris didn’t stop at any of the cars, so I guess there was no one seriously hurt.

    We ended up not going to the rest area… good thing, too. I wasn’t looking forward to a 12 mile walk! There was a little town called Burnett three miles in the other direction, so we followed the sea of commuters. Somewhere along the road, T.J. had acquired a horse, and was actually using his saddle rather than carrying it. Kris and Phil kept throwing around the idea of an EMP knocking everything out… I think I argued against it – just based on the Defense Committee notes I’ve seen come through the Senator’s office – but I just can’t remember if I vocalized those arguments or not. The more they talked, the clearer it was that Kris was out of her league in the technobabble game and worse yet – I think Phil actually KNOWS what he’s talking about…

    Whatever had happened to us had happened to Burnett, too. Power was out in the whole town… cars and trucks were stopped in and along the road in places no one in their right mind would have parked… and a local cop directed us to the High School gym where they had set up a shelter.

    Kris’ no-nonsense survival thing must have rubbed off on some of the others, because once we were settled in, she and a couple of the guys took off to buy some supplies. It seemed kind of silly, at first, that they were so bent on hoarding things… but the more we learn, the happier I am that she has a tendency to go overboard when shit hits the fan.

    I spent a long time talking to other people in the shelter… mostly commuters who normally wouldn’t remember this town existed if it wasn’t for the clean unlocked bathrooms at the service station. But it was dark and cool inside the gym, and after walking the three miles in the August sun, I was glad to just stay put. No one else knew any more than we did about what was going on, but I did find out that everyone’s watches had stopped. It might be nothing, but it might be something worth noting.


    My watch… the watches of almost everyone I talked to… even the clock on the gym wall. The only ones that were still ticking were a couple old wind-ups. A couple guys in our group even had them… so at least we can tell time for now.

    Phil came back to the gym and shared a bottle of tequila with me… and after the day we’d had, I’m rather glad he did. I’m pretty sure that’s the only reason I was able to sleep last night.

    The townspeople made breakfast this morning for those of us in the shelter and their own residents who were unable to cook… it’s hard for me to wrap my head around the use of the word “refugee” when I’m thinking about Kris and me, but I guess that really is what we are.

    Kris, of course, was up before anybody and I guess she’d managed to make time to talk to the local sheriff. Before we left, she took all the purses and wallets she’d collected from the plane over to his office and she and Mac came back carrying flats of water bottles. She told him we were going to keep traveling and he’d asked her to take extra water to pass out to others on the road.

    I don’t know how they all managed it and I honestly don’t want to… but by the time we left Burnett, we had several horses and a hobbled-together wagon made from an old pickup bed full of… stuff. I helped unload all the stuff when we got here and I’m still not sure what we have.

    We headed out early this morning for the next town… I know they told me how far it was, but I can’t remember now. I can’t remember this country ever being this big. I don’t remember ever being in Nowhere, Missouri until now… but even Nowhere should only be about an hour or so from Somewhere… now, it’s a very long way from everything.

    I wasn’t really paying much attention on the road. The weather was already horrible and the only thing that broke up the conversations about the importance of finding someplace we could wait this out were the heat-sick people laying along the road… each and every one of which, Kris just HAD to stop and help.

    I love my sister, but I’ve never claimed to understand why she is the way she is. I couldn’t imagine passing up the opportunities she’s ignored in favor of rushing head-first into blazing buildings and splintering apartment doors with axes and hiking into places no one in their right mind had any business being in the first place just to carry out some moron that fell down and broke his leg.

    We started taking side roads after a while – trying to find some place we could wait this madness out without being in anyone’s way. I probably should have split with the rest of them before we left Burnett and tried to find a way back to DC. The way things are going I doubt we’re going to be in Santa Monica by the time the party starts on Saturday – and this whole no-power thing is just the sort of craziness that makes the idiots come out of the woodwork at the office. Kris would have stayed with the others and taken care of everyone… that’s what she does. Besides, I’ve got a class on Tuesday night and if I screw up too much, I won’t get my tuition reimbursed.

    Kris keeps saying that until we know otherwise, we have to assume this has happened everywhere. Personally, I think she’s watched too many of those wacked-out sci-fi disaster movies. Whatever THIS is, it can’t be that widespread… it just can’t! It HAS to be an isolated incident.

    Anyway – we found this house that looked like it had been abandoned for a while. Kris tried to pick the lock, but there had to have been something jammed in there or something… I’ve seen her do some pretty amazing things with those stupid lock picks. Lee solved the problem of getting in – even if he caught hell about it later. One broken window was all it took. Most of the others got mad right away – going on about how we wouldn’t be able to lock up the house with a broken window… I didn’t much care. I’m not entirely sure we should be here anyway, but it’s nice to be out of the sun and off my feet for a little while.

    T.J. and Phil took off for the next town – something about more supplies and more information and some kind of mechanical something or other that Phil wants to mess with. Seems like an exercise in futility at this point – but if he can make something – ANYTHING – work, then it will be something. That left the rest of us to unload the supplies we already had… which wouldn’t have been as bad if the heat would have let up. Kris was on me about my hair and threatening to chop it off while I’m asleep if I don’t keep it tied up… something about overheating and keeping my neck cool or something. I don’t know. When she gets like this, it’s best just to do what she says.

    Unlike me, Kris has no reservations when it comes to doing whatever she needs to to keep cool. She’d knotted her hair around itself twice early in the day and spent much of the time on the road fanning her sweat-soaked shirt… but once we were in the house and had actually begun to haul our stuff in she just peeled off the shirt and threw it aside. It wasn’t like she was topless, really – she always wears those high-impact sports bras that so many people can’t pull off wearing without something over them (but try to anyway!)… Kris doesn’t have any problem pulling it off, though. My little sister’s built just as clean and solid as all the guys on her crew and even looking like hell after the crash and everything that’s followed, her move managed to grab the attention of all the guys that were there.

    Mac was the only one to say anything to her about it – and it wasn’t like he was necessarily offended by her appearance. Bothered, maybe… but not offended… and he was cordial and polite enough. Kris mumbled an apology and grabbed up the blankets she’d come after and a couple other boxes and headed upstairs to the room she’d decided to set up as an infirmary. Steve helped her carry things up and hung around up there. I’m sure he thought he was helping, but he’s a kid and there was an almost-topless girl dripping with sweat… I doubt the poor boy was much help at all.

    Lee was hungry and decided it would be a good time to set up one of the camp stoves and pry open a can of beans. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone do that in real life before today… cut open the top of a can of beans and heat them over a flame and eat them just like that. Truth be told – it was both surreal and more than a tad disturbing.

    When Phil and T.J. got back, Kris and Steve came back downstairs to help unload the next cartload of stuff we’d somehow acquired. I didn’t hear all of the conversation between Kris and Mac when she took off her shirt, but she was pulling a tank top on over her sports bra when she came back down. I’ve got a terrible feeling I missed something.

    T.J., bless him, had thought of things the others had skipped over when they hoarded all they could from Burnett. Sure, we’d showed up at the house with axes (which Kris stuck all over the house with no apparent rhyme or reason) and machetes and canned goods and water. T.J. and Phil had gone after feed for the horses and little bits of machine stuff… and they came back with plenty of both and pots and pans and dishes and water purification tabs and more practical creature comforts.

    We threw together some dinner and Kris dumped the purifiers out of one of the water jugs and headed toward the stream we could hear in the distance. She ignored warnings about how heavy the canister would be (which didn’t surprise me AT ALL), but Lucky grabbed a couple of jugs and a stick he’d had in his luggage and went with her… so at least she wasn’t alone and I didn’t have to worry too much.

    Me worry about Kris? What a laugh! She’s never ever EVER taken the easy route to anywhere and I learned a long time ago that it’s a whole hell of a lot easier to sit back and ignore it until she actually asks for my help. If I’m supposed to worry about her, I’m sure she’ll be sure to tell me so.

    With the pots and pans and dishes, we were able to cobble together a decent meal. It would have been nice to have something other than flats of water and sleeping bags to sit on, but I guess I shouldn’t complain. I’m still alive. My little sister’s still alive. I really shouldn’t complain.

    Kris doesn’t seem to be bothered by any of this mess. It doesn’t surprise me, really… I rather envy her ability to shut off the parts of her mind that would make normal people (like me) freak out when things go bad. She ate her food and cleaned her dishes and announced to everyone that she was going to go into the front of the house and work out. Kris is always working out… always staying in tip-top shape to be able to do all the things her job demands. I used to think it was silly – another example of how she goes overboard with everything – but now I’m not so sure. I’m beat after walking and working today, but she seems to still have a bunch of energy. She even told Mac specifically she’d probably end up shirtless again.

    I really want to believe she was just trying to be considerate – but I doubt it. I could see the laughter in the corner of her eye when she walked past me. And God help him, I think Mac took the bait.



    [Originally Posted Monday, August 16, 2010 @ 08:12 AM]

    So far, the only danger I think we have to worry about with this whole lack-of-power thing is dying of boredom.
    I guess that’s not entirely true – I’ve been too tired to write the last few weeks, so I’m obviously not just sitting around being bored.

    The rest (including Kris) are still in doom-sayer mode — continuing to talk about this whole weird power thing like it’s going to last forever. But it’s not going to last forever. It can’t. They’ve got to be working on it in Washington.

    The “danger from strangers” is becoming something of a joke to me. Since we decided to take over this place, we’ve only had 2 visitors and they’re both allies now. One neighbor – Rick came over to see if we knew what was going on – ended up with Phil helping him fix a cart and him and his dogs bringing over a bunch of meat he had in the freezer. We used a bunch of the salt T.J. and Phil brought back — but the meat will stay good, now. He seems like an okay guy, I guess… but he’s got a very loud problem with lawyers, so I tend to keep my distance.

    Neighbors the other way are friends now, too. Bill and Martha. Older couple with more farm than they can handle without the tractors and other machines that Bill depended on. The others have been going over there every day for the last couple weeks helping Bill bring in as much of the crop as they can. It’s a good deal – we help harvest and get a share of the food.

    We… that’s a joke. I’ve only been over there long enough to meet them. The others are still paranoid that someone’s going to come into the house when we’re gone and take all the stuff we’ve collected. Kris decided for me (and that’s okay, in this case) that I’d pretty much be useless over there (and I would be), so I get guard duty.

    Guard duty… that’s another joke. There’s nothing to guard against but mosquitoes and the occasional critter that runs off when it hears someone moving around the house. I’ve spent my days sorting supplies and making lists of various things I’ve been told it’s important to keep track of (water purification tablets and gizmos, Kris’ medical supplies, etc.) and making sure that we’re eating all the food in the right order so nothing goes to waste and generally just being busy trying to make this place someplace we can all live for a while.

    I wish I was back in Washington where I could be doing some good. This has got to be causing major issues there.

    Everyone seems to be dealing with the changed environment okay, though… at least as far as I can tell.

    Kris is forever in rescue mode – but she was like that before the crash. She’s never far from Mac. It’s hard to tell if she’s actually serious about him or if she’s doing it just to make me crazy – it wouldn’t be the first time. I don’t know if she’s still suffering some rebellion thing or not – Mom & Daddy had fits when she went to the fire academy and she’s never brought home a guy any of us could approve of… Mac’s nice and all, but there’s something about him that bothers me.

    Phil continues trying to fix things. Most of the stuff he does works – as long as it doesn’t need power.

    T.J. doesn’t seem to have any problem adjusting – but this is kind of his natural environment… uncomfortable, I guess, but not impossible like it is for me.

    Lucky’s still quiet – I think that may just be the way he is – but he hung around the house the first couple days they all went to work at Bill & Martha’s place. He did all the “hard” chores and did all his work outs (he’s as bad as Kris – always working out!) and martial arts stuff that he does. It’s cool in a way… at least he knows how to defend himself. It was nice to have him around while I was still getting used to the sights and sounds around this place.

    Lee’s been busy – helping with all the chores and everything. He’s worried about not being able to get back to school, but other than that he seems to be handling things well.

    Steve’s opened up a lot. He doesn’t talk about his parents (not that I blame him) and I’ve tried to make it a point not to talk about Mom & Daddy if he’s around. I don’t know that it really matters… Kris pops off with whatever she’s thinking (like always!) regardless of how it might make others feel… and he doesn’t seem too bothered. Of course, he’s usually a little distracted by her.

    Hell, pretty much all the guys are distracted by her at some point… she never did figure out how to be modest, and that whole “brotherhood” thing she’s tried to explain to me more times than I can count seems to make physical differences irrelevant. She’s not trying to be provocative – she just forgets what sweaty nearly half-naked women do to men.

    They’re all worried about the harvest. It’s going slower than Bill would like and he’s afraid a lot of it is going to go to seed. Kris said something about me helping Martha “put stuff up” (whatever that means!) but she’s not ready yet… so I just sit here on guard duty… protecting our hoard of supplies from rats, flies, bees, and stray cats.

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